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Paying for Minor Car Accidents Out of Pocket

Knowing how accidents can affect your automobile insurance rates can lead to savings on your premiums overall over time. There are many factors to getting an automobile insurance policy, and being able to navigate them can help you save good money. These include looking for discounts, understanding coverage limits, figuring out deductibles, and knowing which types of automobile insurance policies to purchase. In addition, many people do research on whether or not to pay for some accidents out-of-pocket in order to help save money. This is a smart thing to research and can help people keep cash in their pocket in the long run. In order to figure out whether you should pay for an at-fault insurance claim yourself, take a look at these top car insurance tips.

Should I Pay For An At-Fault Claim Myself?

When people get into automobile accidents, one of the first things that they think of is how much their insurance policy might go up. This, of course, happens after checking to see if the other driver is okay. In some cases, an at-fault car accident claim can end up being around the same cost as it would be for a person to pay for their deductible.

The deductible a person pays is chosen when they purchase their automobile insurance coverage. It can range anywhere between a zero dollars deductible all the way up to a $1,000 deductible or more. If you are in a crash where the repairs on another person’s vehicle are less than $1,000, and you are found to be at fault, it is likely that you should pay for the at-fault claim yourself so that your insurance rates do not go up.

Even if you have a $1,000 deductible and the cost of repairs on the other person’s car is $1,300, you might decide to pay for the deductible out-of-pocket. This is because your automobile insurance rates might go up if you file a claim, and if they do it may cost you more than the additional $300 you would pay in out-of-pocket costs. Part of the process is verifying how much your rates will go up with your automobile insurance company if you did not pay for the at-fault claim yourself.

Keep in mind that some companies offer accident forgiveness and other benefits that might need to be considered when making these decisions. Another element of automobile accidents to consider is whether or not there were other vehicles involved in the crash. Many at-fault claims are worth filing for, while many others end up being cheaper to pay for out-of-pocket. Minor accidents that involve just your vehicle are often better to pay out-of-pocket for because the expenses related to repairs are usually the lowest. Accidents that have multiple cars involved tend to be more expensive overall. Some single-vehicle accidents that only involve your vehicle may end up costing a lot more money to repair out-of-pocket than the amount that your insurance goes up.

How To Handle An Auto Accident Without Filing A Claim

Handling a car accident without filing a claim is relatively easy to do. The minor accidents that people choose to take care of on their own often do not end up costing a ton of money to repair. It is important to follow a good process and do things right when handling an accident without filing a claim. Here are some of the steps to follow if this path is one you are considering.

Determine Not To Tell Your Insurance Provider

This step in the process is easier to do when only one vehicle is involved in the accident. If two people are involved in the accident, both people need to agree not to tell their insurance company. If one person tells their auto insurance provider about the accident, the other one will likely find out as well.

Make Sure To Have Adequate Documentation

One of the things about settling at-fault claims outside of the insurance process is that you are responsible for keeping proper documentation. Not only the agreement you have with the other driver, but also the process that you have taken, and the dates. Having documentation as proof can help if something goes wrong and you end up in court. Make sure the documentation is detailed, contains receipts for anything paid to auto repair companies, and that the receipts have both people’s names on them.

If You Are At Fault, Do Not Attempt To Obtain A Police Report

Police reports provide documentation against you, and if you are settling out of court, you may want to negotiate the terms without involvement from the police. Remember that some states do require an accident report for automobile accidents above a certain level.

Make Sure To Have The Information You Need

Before you leave the scene of the accident, make sure to have adequate contact information, as well as a limited amount of other information so that you can follow up. You will want to have the name, phone number, and address of the other driver, as an example. Taking a picture of their driver’s license with your phone or writing down their driver’s license number can also be a huge benefit. Lastly, by receiving the name, phone number, and policy number of the other drivers auto insurance provider, you will have a backup in place.

It is recommended to get the at-fault driver to sign something that admits liability and also includes a promise that they will pay for the damages.

Get Your Car Repaired

While the agreement is an important first step to the process, equally important is getting your vehicle repaired. There will often be a conversation between both parties before coming to a resolution. Make sure to set up a deadline to keep things efficient. The longer it has been after an accident occurs before an insurance claim is filed with the insurance company, the more complex the situation becomes. Take the time to get multiple estimates though, some professionals recommend three, to get a quote for the most expensive the repairs will be, the cheapest the repairs will be, and a middle-of-the-road estimate. If you feel the estimate is too high, and are the person who is found to be at fault, it might make sense to notify the insurance companies.

Let Go Of The Situation

It is common for people to hold on to their feelings and emotions in terms of the aftermath of an accident. If you are the at-fault driver, you will want to ensure that the repairs to the vehicle and the payments for incident get fully resolved promptly. This requires more documentation, including having the other person sign a release of claims. If you are not the driver who is at fault, you may want to avoid signing a release of claims so that you can seek more money at a later date if needed.

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